Top Critic Average
Lichdom: Battlemage is a big, complicated, awesome beast of an FPS. When you've got a system down and are tearing through enemies you feel like magic incarnate, wielding the secrets of the universe to eviscerate all in your path.
Lichdom: Battlemage is a clever and exciting arcade style action-RPG, which can be a lot more fun than one might expect. The battles are challenging, the magic system is as diverse as advertised, and the play mechanics do a pretty good job pulling it all together. A few rough edges here and there, in combination with the game's high requirements can lead to some embarrassing hiccups and broken moments, but it's nothing that gets in the way of the overall experience. Hopefully future installments will dare to flesh out what this title lacks, but what Xaviant focused on this time around they really managed to deliver.
A fun romp with an interesting crafting system that encourages all kinds of spell combining action, marred only by some repetitive encounters and minor inherent gameplay flaws
Lichdom: Battlemage is an experience that's empowering, but obtuse. The magic and combat are often thrilling, fast and rewardingly tactical, but the dull level design and overly-complex upgrade system mar what is, for the most part, a mystical, ass-kicking good time.
With an remarkably robust spell crafting system and spectacularly entertaining combat, Lichdom: Battlemage finally brings the glory to the magic user that it has long deserved. Creating your own options for how to play lends depth and complexity to the game as a whole, and lets you tailor the experience to literally any style of combat you want: stand far away and lob fireballs, or use charge blink to rush into the fray, unleashing novas along the way, and using your wits to keep yourself alive.
Lichdom: Battlemage's magic system is second to none, and it carries the game. It does one thing exceptionally well, while the rest of the game languishes a bit. Everything is subservient to firing off apocalyptic spells and frying thousands of loud, angry foes. The disappointment I felt when I wasn't able to use my magic for nonviolent exploration or the exhaustion I felt every time I had to hear another trite piece of exposition were brushed aside in a cacophony of arcane explosions.
Lichdom: Battlemage is a fun, if shortsighted RPG with some fantastic upsides. Is it worth the asking price of $40? I'd say no at this point, and hold out for a Steam sale. It's definitely something fans of the old Hexen will enjoy, but fans of open ended RPGs will find Xaviant's game lacking. A solid effort, but not quite what I'd hoped for after seeing the game at PAX East this year.
For those that may stumble upon it on sale somewhere, feel good in knowing that you are picking up a solid, and unique title, that is finally worthy of sitting on a retail shelf.
I find myself thinking back to a Gabe Newell quote from the book Half Life 2: Raising the Bar, regarding the game's large portions of missing content. "It doesn't matter what we cut, so long as we cut it and it gives us the time to focus on other things." I feel like this outlook is more pertinent than ever; there are too many games being released these days for them to waste players' time in the way Battlemage does. Editing in game design is as important as it is in writing or filmmaking. Get to the point. Respect both the time and financial investment of your audience. Above all else, don't send me chasing after the goddamn lorry.